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Old Androids Never Die, They Just Have A Few Screws Loose

Preliminary Testing Ubuntu on the Steam Deck

August 16, 2022

Ubuntu 22.04 runs on Steam Deck fairly well right off the USB. Booting from the drive and getting to a desktop is no big deal, and the "Try Ubuntu" desktop mode starts up and runs. The things that seem to work were:

  • The graphics stack - video is accelerated properly, and the GPU seems active.
  • WIFI worked out of the box, no weird driver setups required.
  • The screen is correctly oriented.
  • The Steam Deck gamepad controls function similarly to how they did in SteamOS desktop mode - the right pad emulates a mouse, while the triggers are left and right click and the D-Pad is arrow keys.
  • The USB hub was properly recognized and both internal and external displays worked.

There are some things that do not work:

  • The touch screen seemed to register touches, but was not properly calibrated or aligned. All touches seemed to click on the top right corner.
  • There is no internal sound support. Sound via USB worked.

I did not try bluetooth.

As far as I am aware, the 5.17 kernel has a bunch of Steam Deck changes merged, most importantly the AMD P-state governor. I don't know if the sound card is supported, but that will be one of the most important things to fix, given that USB sound would use the USB-C port (so you couldn't listen and charge at the same time).

It may seem odd to replace SteamOS with Ubuntu, but for someone used to Linux (like me) SteamOS is very, very limiting, and there's quite a bit more I'd like to do with the Deck - for instance, trying to get Anbox to run, which might enable playing some Android games, and having the ability to run background applications (like Discord, IRC, or Caprine).

Categorized as: Games | Linux | Steam | Steam Deck | Ubuntu

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